Julie  Tilsen Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Julie Tilsen

Consultant, trainer, family therapist
Self-employed; Community faculty at the University of Minnesota

Julie provides training & consultation in narrative approaches. Her interests include queer theory & cultural studies methodologies as conceptual resources for relational practice. She also works as a family therapist alongside queer & trans youth & their families. She is community faculty in the U of MN's Youth Studies Program & an associate of the Taos Institute. Her work is featured in training videos produced by Alexander Street Press. Julie has been sorted into the House of Ravenclaw.


"But if theory is not the crystallized resin of experience, it ceases to be a guide to action."--Leslie Feinberg

I am a white, cis, queer, US-born & residing, mostly able-bodied woman. In addition to several professional journal articles and book chapters, I am the author of "Therapeutic Conversations with Queer Youth: Constructing Preferred Identities and Transcending Homonormativity" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) and "Narrative Approaches to Youth Work: Conversational Skills for a Critical Practice" (Routledge, 2018).

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Narrative and discursive practices; queer theory; youth work; liberatory education; feminist & relational ethics; anti-oppressive practices; critical praxis; deliberate reflexive practice.

Personal Interests

    Do my interests interest you?
    * Women's collegiate hockey (GO GOPHERS) *Playing drums  *Drinking of cold press *Taking monthly (at least) hikes in the woods w/my sweetie *Eating cheese *Being sassy on Twitter *My dog Feet  *My cats Juno and Presto ******Dismantling capitalism (and with it white supremacy & patriarchy)



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Narrative Approaches to Youth Work - 1st Edition book cover


Family Process

Cultural Studies Methodologies and Narrative Family Therapy: Therapeutic Conversations About Pop Culture

Published: Feb 16, 2016 by Family Process
Authors: Tilsen, Julie & Nylund, David
Subjects: Family Studies, Media and Cultural Studies

Cultural studies is introduced as an interdisciplinary approach that provides frameworks for both theory and practice that position therapists and clients to critically examine the role of pop culture in their lives. Cultural studies and narrative therapy are discussed as praxis allies that share a populist political intention and counter‐hegemonic discursive practices.

Family Process

Feedback Informed Treatment: Evidence-Based Practice Meets Social Construction

Published: Nov 13, 2014 by Family Process
Authors: Tilsen, Julie & McNamee Sheila
Subjects: Family Studies

This article explores the challenges presented by the mandate for evidence‐based practice for family therapists who identify with the philosophical stance of social construction. The history of psychotherapy outcome research is reviewed, as are current findings that provide empirical evidence for an engaged, dialogic practice.

International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work

Resisting normativity: Queer musings on politics, identity, and the performance of therapy.

Published: Sep 01, 2010 by International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work
Authors: Tilsen, J. & Nylund, D.
Subjects: Family Studies, Gender & Intersectionality Studies

The authors propose that in attempting to secure ‘equal’ rights in various aspects of public and private life – for example, marriage, military service, and health insurance – modern gay rights engages in ‘homonormativity’ which seeks to limit the options for queer people by having them replicate aspects of mainstream, neoliberal, heterosexual lifestyles.

Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation

Psychotherapy research, the recovery movement, and practice- based evidence,

Published: Jul 14, 2010 by Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation
Authors: Tilsen, J. & Nylund, D.

This article reviews the literature on psychotherapy outcome research and discusses the relationship between those findings and the tenets of the consumer-driven recovery model. The research provides compelling evidence for practitioners to abandon the current emphasis on diagnosis and theory, model, and technique in favor of a partnership with clients that leverages the common factors and places emphasis on the alliance.

International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work

Popular culture texts & young people: Making meaning, honoring resistance, & becoming harry potter

Published: Apr 01, 2009 by International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work
Authors: Tilsen, J. & Nylund, D.
Subjects: Family Studies, Media and Cultural Studies

The article discusses how popular culture produces much of the materials out of which people fashion their identities. These materials include images and messages from the music, TV, film, technology and fashion industries.

Journal  of Progressive Human Services,

We don’t need no education: Parents are doing it for themselves

Published: Sep 08, 2008 by Journal of Progressive Human Services,
Authors: Tilsen, J.
Subjects: Family Studies

This paper will provide a brief history of parent education and a postmodern critique of its origins and methods. An alternative narrative therapy practice that brings forward parents' insider knowledges is reviewed and presented in a case vignette of a session with the parents of a 10-year-old boy.

International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work

The gender binary: Theory and lived experience.

Published: Apr 01, 2007 by International Journal of Narrative Therapy & Community Work
Authors: Tilsen, J., Nylund, D., & Grieves, L.
Subjects: Family Studies, Gender & Intersectionality Studies

Examples of deconstructing questions that highlight the social construction of gender and an examination of therapy with non-trans-identified partners of transmen are offered as ways to apply queer theory in an effort to expose the impact of the gender binary on people’s lives. Reflections from a queer-identified woman on her experiences as the partner of a transman are shared in response to this paper.

Journal of Systemic Therapies

Pedagogy and praxis: Postmodern spirit in the classroom

Published: Oct 01, 2006 by Journal of Systemic Therapies
Authors: Nylund, D., Tilsen , J.
Subjects: Education, Family Studies

A postmodern pedagogical stance has particular significance for faculty who teach clinical practice as postmodernism encourages reflexivity and increases students' awareness of sociopolitical issues. Specific ideas for classroom activities and assignments that enhance students' critical thinking along with ideas for student evaluation are illustrated that add to the learning process and flatten the hierarchy between student and teacher.